Wesleyne Greer enjoys mentoring young adults to help them reach their full potential. She is a firm believer that there are many opportunities for young women in the plastics industry.
"Whether you want to the start out on the technical side or work on the commercial side of the plastics industry, there are many opportunities," she said. "The plastics value chain is vast and wide so women can pursue every business function at these companies."
Greer, the senior manager for sales at Materia Inc., is speaking at the Antec Women's Connection Breakfast Tuesday, May 8. The event starts at 7 a.m. in room N310FGH, and all plastics professionals and students are welcome.
Greer has 12 years of experience in the petrochemical industry working with thermoplastic and thermoset polymers.
Q: How did you end up in plastics?
Greer: My first job out of college was working in an analytical polystyrene lab. Working at Total, I fell in love with polymers. It really amazed me how small pellets could be transformed into so many things we use in daily life.
Q: What do you like about your job?
Greer: I love being a technical resource for my clients. When they reach out to me for every problem they need to solve, I know I have done a good job in becoming their go to resource.
No person exists as an island. I work with some of the best people. Without the support of my Materia team, I would not be achieving as much success as I currently am.
Q: If you weren't in plastics, what career would you like?
Greer: I have a passion for technical sales. If I wasn't selling plastics I would be engaged in another aspect of technical sales and management.
Q: How many NPEs and Antecs have you been to?
Q: Any memories of your first NPE?
Greer: It was the largest trade show I had ever been too. It was really eye opening for me to see so many areas of the supply chain represented at the show.
Q: What's your main reason for coming to this year's show?
Greer: For most of my sales career, I have worked in capital equipment. Now that I work on the "other side" selling plastics, I want to learn more about my competitors and how I can partner with various companies to make the buying experience for my customers easier, while engaging with new prospects.
Q: You're speaking at the Women's Connection Breakfast at Antec. Do you know why you were selected?
Greer: The meeting organizer was impressed with my background and the success I have achieved at my age.
Q: What's the topic of your talk? Can you give a brief overview?
Greer: I plan on discussing the challenges I have experienced and techniques I've used to overcome them. Being a woman in a technical field is one aspect of this, but having a job that requires 50-60 percent travel and 10 hour days is a whole different ballgame.
Q: What factors make plastics a good career choice for women?
Greer: In the plastics industry, you have the ability to use the skills you have acquired in a very different manner. The plastics industry is so multi-faceted and there are many areas that you have the ability to be engaged in.
Q: Have you had any uncomfortable or bad experiences as a woman in the plastics industry?
Greer: Unfortunately, I have. I have encountered both men and women that have reservations about my technical abilities. However, I have been able to win many of these people over by the way I conduct business. I always make my clients understand that my goal is to help them. Sometimes that means we don't do business together, but I have helped them enhance their current processes which makes us both happy. My goal is to make them believers and have them perceive me as their reliable go-to partner. I achieve this by being a good listener, listening for their needs, and providing the right technical solutions. This leads to my establishing my credibility with them.
Q: What issues stand in the way of having more women in management and engineering/technical roles in plastics?
Greer: This is a loaded question! One that I could write an entire article on. One of the reasons many women do not enter engineering and technical roles stems from childhood. Engineering and technical disciplines are not deemed as a "feminine career choice" so many girls are not exposed to these career choices at an early age.
For many jobs, both management and technical, the hiring manager has already decided their ideal candidate before a job is posted. This results in people hiring who they have worked with in the past or networked with. Women have been underrepresented in these areas for a long time so it is less likely that they will be connected to these hiring managers.
Many women are apprehensive of entering into management because of the increased responsibility they will have at work. It's a struggle to decide whether to take on more responsibility at work because they will be unable to spend as much time with their family. The internal struggle women have many times hinders women from moving into management roles. However, I am a firm believer in the quality of time rather than the quantity of time I devote to my professional and personal life.
Q: Tell me about Materia Inc. What's your elevator pitch to people who aren't familiar with the company?
Greer: Materia is a thermoset resin provider with resins that differentiates customer products based on the proprietary use of technology. The resins enable performance that is superior to epoxies and another thermosets as well as thermoplastics. These resins enable customers to expand their market reach due to their superior performance and due to the processing technology.
Q: You've been senior sales manager for about a year. How has the past year been? What did you accomplish, and what are your goals?
Greer: The past year has been an amazing one! My goal is to build the sales team and increase the presence of our resin, Proxima, in the oil and gas industry. I've been successful in instilling a sales culture at my company, including onboarding a customer relationship manager and holding quarterly sales training for technical and commercial employees.
Q: How will you gauge whether this show is successful?
Greer: For me its about the quality of lead rather than quantity. If I leave the show with a few strong qualified leads, then I will deem the show as a success.
Q: Will you do anything for fun at the show, or is it all work all the time?
Greer: Attending the Women's Networking Breakfast will be my fun for the week!